Author: Ravengirl
Rating: NC-17
Pairings: strictly 1x2... clear enough?
Warnings: yaoi, heavy invective (courtesy of my darling Duo), angst, post EW, scientific screwiness, 'seme' Heero, 'uke' Duo (um, do I need to be more specific? Duo is TAKING it), explicit M/M sex aka lemon
Spoilers: *shrugs* Got me. There are references to various episodes, but I don't think it's gonna ruin anything for y'all.
Disclaimer: GW and its lovely bishounen are not mine. I sure as hell ain't making money offa this. If I was, I could much better afford to appease my doujinshi habit. 'Head Like a Hole' belongs to Trent Reznor, bless his bent little heart.
A/N: This story was inspired by a doujinshi series of the same name. 'Remember' Vols. 1-3 are the property of the incomparable Date Sakura (1*2 Finish, 25ANS), my favorite djka of all time. When I say 'inspired' I mean it in the loosest sense of the word... it's my own interpretation, not Date-sama's intended story. However, since 1*2 Finish is always classic 'pilot 01 loves pilot 02', that's the way I'm gonna write it. This here's for all you rabid 1x2 lovers, myself included. *feral grin*
Last but not least, I'd like to dedicate this fic to all the wonderful artists who create doujinshi. They have immeasurably enriched the fandoms they love and given hour upon hour of delight to those of us who stand in awe of their talent. To all of you: please accept the humble gratitude of this insignificant gaijin.

single quotes ' ' around speech = a past conversation
// = direct thought
{} = lyrics

Remember + Part 1: before...

AC 198-03-21

Electronic lightning speared the sky's faux grey. Simulated thunder rumbled distantly. Random drops of liquid splashed down, gradually increasing in volume until the sparse trickle had become a grudging shower.

Standing at the floor-to-ceiling windows of his high-rise flat, Duo Maxwell watched the 'storm' through jaded eyes.

L2's rain gods -- otherwise known as Weather/Climate Control -- left a great deal to be desired. He wondered why the colony's regulatory board even bothered with such pitiful displays...

A paucity of water had made the colony's infrequent storms a source of awe and delight for the dirty street-rat he'd once been. But that was before Meteor and G sent him plummeting to earth. Several years' exposure to the blue planet's heavenly vault and the reality of clouds that spewed rain, snow and other meteorological phenomena upon his unprepared head had more than killed the magic.

He was about to turn from the view when a pair of men huddled under an awning across the street caught his attention. With their pricy, inappropriate shades and expensively tailored suits, they were an anomaly in this low-rent district. One goon shifted and Duo caught the bulge of a concealed weapon under dark cloth.

/Still got the watch-dogs, on me, I see. Fuckers. After years of bustin' my ass for their blasted peace, you'd think they'd give me the benefit of the doubt. Told 'em I'd be there, and Duo Maxwell never lies...not about the important stuff, at any rate./

The end of Mariemaia's war presaged a time of turmoil and rebirth for both the colonies and earth. Anger at the destruction and death wrought by years of fighting created a backlash in the general populace towards anyone who wore any kind of uniform. Public opinion fluctuated with the slightest breeze and the politicians of many nations scrambled to cover their asses, searching for a way to placate the restless masses... searching for the perfect head-on-a- platter that would finally lay the ghosts of OZ, Romefeller and the Alliance to rest.

Looking back, Duo supposed he should have guessed what would follow. ESUN looked with unease on the Gundam Five, recognizing them for the highly volatile, uncontrollable variables they were.

It had taken the powers-that-be nearly a year to decide that something must be done to neutralize the prospective threat to peace they felt the pilots represented, but once made, their mandate carried swift consequences. The sacrificial goat had presented itself for the butchering. Families across the board, no matter their political affiliation, had lost loved ones to the five terror- inducing mechas. The Gundams' human animators were the most likely target to unite all factions into one.

The colonies hadn't come through for their wayward sons. Why he was surprised by that after their previous betrayal, Duo wasn't sure, but a feeling of shocked hurt had resonated through him as L2's representative calmly agreed with the United Earth Sphere's Council that pilot 02 was a superbly trained -- and highly unstable -- weapon in need of disarmament.

He'd acquiesced to their demands for mental evaluation... jumped through every hoop they'd presented him. What else could he have done? The other guys were facing ESUN's war crimes tribunal as well, and though his instinct was -- as always -- to run, he couldn't. He couldn't leave his wingman.

In the end, though, it was only himself and Heero left standing in the spotlight, pilloried before the collective gazes of planet and colony alike.

Wufei had joined the Preventers Organization immediately after the Barton insurrection and his fellow agents now rose to the occasion, closing ranks around him on their Commander's orders. Though both media-based rumors and office scuttlebutt paired Agent Steel with Sally Po, Duo had caught the looks flashing between 05 and OZ's former colonel. Not even ESUN's Council went up against the Lady expecting to come out on top.

Trowa simply vanished. If Nanashi didn't want to be found, you darn well wouldn't find him.

As for Quatre, he'd remained behind the walls of the Winners' L4 fortress, surrounded by the strong arm of the Maguanacs. Going after the head of WEI on his own turf was tantamount to suicide: no one in their right mind would attempt it.

So it was that the two most notorious members of the G-5 found themselves up before an unofficial session of the Council; listening to the ideas of a man who might be considered either insane or brilliant, depending of the perspective of his audience.

Matthew Tregarth was many things: gifted scientist, respected geneticist... colony-born pacifist whose beliefs had yet to be corroded by bloodshed and violence. He was also, most notably, the protégée of Dr. J and Professor G... heir to their research and labs.

'This procedure was developed by the doctors during the last phase of Meteor,' he informed the two pilots. 'Their final tests and my own have shown a 98.9% success rate. At best, your life-memories will be altered completely and without error, though side effects are a possibility -- the most typical being flashbacks and something the doctors referred to as 'black holes': blank spaces in your life's timeline. These problems are few and far between, however, and -- with your youth and excellent physical condition taken into consideration -- very unlikely to occur. Think of this as a chance to start your lives anew. I'm sure much of the population would be overjoyed to be given such an opportunity.'

Beaming at them like a benevolent deity prepared to bestow eternal life on a pair of favored mortals, Tregarth waited expectantly.

Duo just stared at him, unblinking, unable to process his words. The 'procedure' the man referred to allowed human memory to be extracted, erased, replaced or implanted. Those bastard doctors had made it possible for ESUN to take the only thing that truly belonged to him: his sense of self.

He had just opened his mouth to blast both the Council and Dr. Tregarth into the stratosphere when a low voice spoke from beside him.

'I'll do it.'

The flat, even tones stopped him cold. Slowly, he turned his head to stare incredulously at the dark-haired teen standing next to him, posture rigidly correct.

Heero was study in blue, that day... blue jeans so new they were still stiff from their first washing, a navy windbreaker with the Preventers logo on it, and a cobalt turtleneck that matched his eyes -- Duo's first Christmas present to his best friend.

01's eyes moved from one face to the next, studying and weighing these people who'd set themselves up to judge what they did not -- could not -- understand. They shifted restlessly under that implacable gaze, their own eyes skittering guiltily away. Finally, deep midnight came to rest on Dr. Tregarth.

The scientist, Duo noted with detached interest, was the only one with the guts -- and possibly the sheer ignorance -- to meet that basilisk glare with a clear conscience. He obviously believed he was on the side of right... that he truly offered them a wonderful gift.

Duo returned his gaze to his partner. It was equally obvious that Heero believed this was J's last order, come to him from beyond the grave in the form of a naïve, idealistic innocent. For all his brilliance, Tregarth was a babe-in-the-woods compared to the jackals ranged behind him.

He was really going to do this, Duo thought, despair flooding him in devastating waves. 01 would allow this man break down the mind and body the doctors had built... would let ESUN finish the job J started years ago: the deconstruction of a soul. Heero would forget his part in the war, forget the thousand ways he knew to kill... forget Duo Maxwell.

For a brief instant, outrageous scenarios played out across Duo's mind. He saw himself pull the guns from his ankle holster and the small of his back and open fire on these smug bastards... saw himself grab Heero and drag the other boy from the room. Watched as they both ran until they hit the starry infinity of space, then ran some more. Always moving, never at rest.

Fever dreams. He might make it, but he already knew Heero wouldn't go with him. And for 'Scythe's pilot, far worse than death would be the knowledge that Heero Yuy walked the earth, unaware that Duo Maxwell had ever existed. Better to forget.

/The ultimate 'run and hide' scenario. Well, I guess I'm just living up to my motto's full potential./

Stepping forward, he stood shoulder to shoulder with the boy who meant more to him than anything in existence and felt Shinigami's reaper-grin stretch his mouth and fire his eyes. Staring straight into the apprehensive gaze of the Council's chairman, he let his alter-ego speak for him.

'What the hell? Go ahead and fry me. Can't be any worse than the other shit you sick fucks have pulled on us.'

Heero's chin jerked towards him, and Duo found himself drowning in ocean-deep pools of regret.

'Not you.'

He almost didn't hear the words, Heero's voice was so quiet. Searching his partner's eyes, he shook his head once.

'End of the road, Hee-man. We knew what we were in for when we signed on. Time to pay the piper.'

+

The rain had slowed to a shallow drizzle and Duo turned away from the window and the men assigned to make sure pilot 02 was present for his scheduled mind-rape. ESUN had given them a month to get their affairs in order. Their altered personas would have new lives to go to as well as rearranged memories.

He'd asked Tregarth about that. Asked if the people from his past would be lost to him. The doctor assured him that they were not going to completely erase his memories... just reconfigure them.

'You will believe that you grew up on earth, that you had a normal upbringing and education, and that your parents died together in a car crash. As you have no family, this will not be a problem. Professor G made sure of that before he even started your training. Many of those figures who strongly influenced your childhood in both positive and negative ways will most likely be a part of your new memories. We try to work with what is already there... I've found it produces the best results. Attempting to implant a completely original set of memories is confusing to the mind and can lead to permanent amnesia or flashbacks.'

Reaching his room, he flopped down on the bed, grabbing his head-set and plugging himself in. He folded his arms beneath his head, staring blankly at the ceiling as Trent Reznor shrieked about soulless God Money.

{Head like a hole...
Black as your soul...
I'd rather die...
Than give you control...}

Perhaps some good would come of this nightmare. He wouldn't mind having Father Maxwell and Sister Helen as parents and Solo as boyhood best friend. And maybe... just maybe... Heero could be the distant but cherished first love that didn't quite work out.

He doubted it, though. Allowing them even distorted memories of their war-time comrades would be too risky.

Pulling the mics from his ears, he tossed the player away and scrubbed a hand over his face. Stress, anger and -- yes -- fear had begun to wear on him. Fuck waiting out his sentence. He'd hop a shuttle to L1 tomorrow and get it over with.

The door-com buzzed, its sound jarring in the apartment's silence, startling the former pilot. He stood slowly, frowning at nothing in particular. Who the hell would be here at this time of day? Hilde never left the yard before 18:30 and it wasn't much past fifteen- hundred hours right now.

The com's irritable summons sounded again, the finger behind it peremptorily impatient, and Duo growled.

"Touchy fucker. Hang on, I'm comin'!"

Punching up the ID screen, he waited for the static to clear then gaped in astonishment when it did. None other than Wing's pilot stood right outside his door, dripping wet, scowl fixed firmly in place.

Quickly, Duo keyed in the security code and waited as the door slid aside and expressionless blue eyes fixed on him. He swallowed hard.

Heero looked... edible. The rain had plastered dark chocolate hair against the finely-shaped skull and molded a thin, forest-green Tee to well-defined muscle. As Duo stared, doing his best not to drool, one dark brow arched.

"Are you going to let me in, Maxwell, or do you prefer to conduct your business in public halls?"

"Uh, yeah!" Duo's cheeks flushed a dull red as he hastily backed away from the port. "I mean, c'mon in."

Hero slid silently past him and moved to stand just inside the main room, waiting while Duo sealed the door hatch.

"So... you wanna towel? Coffee maybe? I can dry those for you and lend you some of mine, if you want."

He gestured towards 01's drenched clothing.

Heero glanced down at his soaked form.

"Ryokai."

Duo barely caught the wet shirt his friend tossed him. He watched, bug-eyed, as the Japanese boy reached for the snap on his jeans then turned, fleeing the scene before any more flesh could be revealed.

"I'll just get those clothes for you," he called over his shoulder.

Grabbing a towel from the bathroom closet and the baggiest Tee and jeans he owned from his dresser, he skittered back down the hall, threw the clothes in Heero's direction without looking and ducked into the kitchen.

As the smell of hot java filled the small work-space, he leaned his forehead against one smooth cabinet and closed his eyes.

/Damn, you don't make things easy on a guy, Heero./

+

"So what brings you to my little corner of nowhere, Yuy? Thought you had a pressing engagement elsewhere."

Scouring the last of the wet from his hair, Heero shook his head, returning the dark mop to its typical disarray. Hooking the now damp terrycloth around his neck, he pulled Duo's jeans up over protrusive hipbones.

Worn blue denim, threadbare with use, they probably hung off the other boy but fit Heero just a tad snugly, falling a couple inches short of his ankles. The fact that Duo had not matched him growth- wise was abruptly evident. During the Eve war, their sizes had been interchangeable, very handy for a pair of teenagers attempting to slide beneath the authorities' radar. Their ability to wear each other's clothes had saved them a great deal of trouble more than once.

"Hey. You listening, or did your brain take a hike?"

He looked up just in time to see Duo enter the room, a steaming mug in either hand. Setting the drinks on a low, wide table, the braided ex-pilot dropped onto an overstuffed easy-chair and sprawled there, awaiting Heero's reply.

Draping the shirt Duo had offered him over the back of the couch, Heero rounded the frayed lounge to take a seat opposite his friend. Cautiously retrieving one of the mugs, he cradled it between his palms, the heated ceramic a welcome contrast to the rain's chill.

"Is it so strange for me to visit my closest friend?" he asked, taking a slow sip of perfectly prepared coffee.

Duo's eyebrows shot skyward.

"That's a mine-riddled piece of bull if I ever heard one, Hee-man. And I ain't touchin' it with a ten-foot gundanium pole. Sure you're not bugged?"

Ostensibly stirring his drink, Heero studied his partner from beneath shaggy bangs.

In contrast to his usual unrelieved black, Duo's baggy cammos and white Tee were almost startling in their normalcy, and Heero found himself missing the garnet and onyx of years past.

Duo seemed faded, his larger-than-life personality muted somehow. And for Heero Yuy, that was a crime equivalent to war.

From the first moment of their admittedly unconventional acquaintance, Pilot 02 had impressed J's Perfect Soldier with his edgy vitality and relentless drive. He was a fireball of limitless energy and heat, proof positive of the universal law concerning objects in motion. Duo fascinated and provoked in the same instant, and nothing in Heero's life experience had prepared him to deal with such dichotomy in one alluring package.

He still wasn't sure when fascination had turned to desire or aggravation to fond exasperation, but sometime during the last three years, it had. He'd hoped that with the advent of peace, he could spend more time with the other boy. Had hoped that they might explore Earth together and perhaps find that what they had between them was more than the friendship Duo so generously offered.

He should have known better. Hope had never been his ally.

"Heero. Why are you here?"

Lifting his head, he looked into serious violet eyes.

"There's a freighter. Docking bay 49. It'll be there until 20:45 tomorrow night."

Those eyes narrowed.

"And would this freighter be flying under the WEI banner, by any chance?"

"It would."

Earthen-wear thunked gracelessly down on already battered oak.

"Since when does Mr. Winner invest any of his funds in helping his friends?"

Heero winced inwardly, the lavish scorn in Duo's tone biting deep.

"He was in no position to do anything for us, Duo, you know that. On earth, whatever he attempted would have been shot down and he'd have paid for it with his own freedom."

Fierce amaranth dropped to study chapped, long-fingered hands.

"I know. But I would have thought the lot of them together could have managed something instead of leaving us staked out like a pair of wounded gazelles for the pride's eating pleasure."

He knew Duo meant more than just their fellow pilots. Many still owed them debts -- both of honor and things much darker. Things which would not bear exposure to the light of day. Relena and Zechs were two such. Neither had stepped forward.

"The cargo-run ends on L4. Quatre will provide you will new papers, visas, whatever you need to disappear. It's what he already did for Trowa, last year when this all started."

Duo snorted.

"Like Trowa really needed help."

"For permanency... he did." Heero's expression grew stark. "They were watching us too closely. He got out, but not far. If Quatre hadn't had him retrieved from an L2 holding cell, he'd be in the same position we are, instead of working for the Winner Corporation."

The braided boy's dark-auburn head cocked.

"He still on L4? Dare I hope that means Quat finally made his move?"

When the slight flush along Heero's high cheekbones answered him, he grinned.

"That's good to know. Glad someone's life is going right."

"They seem happy."

Duo shot him a sharp look.

"Went to see them, huh? You've been a busy little Gundam pilot this month, Heero. Who's next on the list? Wufei and Une? Zechs?"

"Duo..."

A deep sigh escaped the slim body.

"Yeah, I know. I'm just... well, I'm bloody-well pissed, is what I am. We could have fought this, but you just gave yourself up to them like some martyr. Jesus, Heero, it was like watching you push the detonator all over again!"

"I-,"

"But that's okay... I forgive you." Duo traced a sloppy cross in Heero's direction. "Go forth and sin no more, and all that happy horseshit. I'd assign you some 'Hail Mary's' if I thought it'd do you any good."

By then, Heero's shoulders were shaking with silent laughter. Only Duo...

"Thank you, Father Maxwell."

An impish smile played over the corners of his best friend's mouth and Heero's stomach clenched. That was not a safe expression. Not in the least.

"Well, Father would probably get a kick outta you calling me that. He always did have a screwy sense of humor. Put up with me, after all."

That wicked little grin curved even further and Duo leaned back in his seat, posture deceptively lazy.

"Tell you what, Hee-man... I'll make you a deal. I'll be on that freighter tomorrow when it leaves... as long as you are, too."

Silence descended. Heero's gaze dropped, unable to bear the intensity of violet hope.

"Duo... I can't."

"See, I just don't get that. What makes it so different for you than for the rest of us? Lemmee tell ya, none of us designated you 'team whipping boy'."

"You didn't have to. That was decided before Meteor began. It was neither expected -- nor desirable -- for me to survive the wars. This is merely J's way of tying the loose ends he left dangling when he died."

When no reply came from the boy opposite him, Heero looked up and found a completely different Duo Maxwell staring back at him.

He'd risen from his slouch to sit rigidly on the edge of the chair, hands clenched, muscles quivering. The expression within his deep- purple eyes... Heero had seen it only once or twice before and, as with those other times, it stirred vague unease and turmoil within him.

02 remained silent, an abnormal state of affairs indeed. Heero rose from his seat.

"I'll get my things," he said quietly.

Retrieving his clothes from Duo's dryer and dressing, he returned to the living room to find his friend in the same place he'd left him, staring off into space, hands gripping his knees so tightly the knuckles had turned white.

"I'm sorry, Duo. I hope you make the transport. I... please believe I never wanted this. Not for either of us."

He'd just turned to go when something hit him hard, knocking him sideways. Strong hands gripped his shoulders, forced him back against the foyer wall. Incandescent ultraviolet fury burned him soul-deep.

"Not expected? Not... desirable?" Duo's voice grated out. "None of us thought we'd live, but it's a whole 'nother ball game to plan the death of a child!"

Sharp, almost vulpine canines snapped together.

"You're not J's anymore, Hee-man. As Wufei could tell you, when you save some baka's hide, it belongs to you. And I think we've rescued each other enough to have about a million life-debts piled up between us. So before you go getting all suicidal and shit, think about how far behind your self-destructive ass I'd be."

"Duo..."

"Shut up."

Tensile thumbs dug into the solid muscle of his upper arms. Fingers with the ability to snap a gown man's neck clenched and released over and over. The public in general identified inhuman strength with 01, but the pilot of Deathscythe Hell had a grip of steel and by tomorrow Heero's body would have the dark imprints to prove it.

He went slack in Duo's grasp, allowing the other teen to do as he wished... Shinigami deserved whatever revenge he felt appropriate. Closing his eyes, he waited for the first punch to connect.

A low growl vibrated through the chest so close to his own. Something soft brushed his mouth, then a sharp nip on his lower lip made him gasp. The small intake of astonished air parted his lips as they were summarily invaded, conquered and seduced into enthusiastic compliance.

Caught totally off-guard for the second time since his childhood -- and by the same person who'd managed that feat the first time -- Heero Yuy flung conscience and common sense to the winds and returned Duo Maxwell's kiss with interest.

+

The room was dark and still, the only light that of a fake, disinterested moon conjured by L2's creators. Meandering lazily along beige carpet and randomly discarded clothing, it paused, caressing pale limbs splayed haphazardly across a wide bed; sea- wrack churned up and abandoned by violent waves.

"I have to go."

"I know."

Sheets rustled softly as sweat-slick bodies slid together.

"There?"

"Christ yesssss... Fuck, Yuy! Where the hell'd you learn that?"

"Believe it or not, it was part of my training. You never know when or how you'll need to neutralize a target. Mmmn... you're not -- ah! -- bad yourself."

"Yeah, well... I've had more than my share of 'practical' experience."

The tone was dark and tinged with bitterness. Strong, gentle fingers cupped a heart-shaped face. Firm lips soothed the tense mouth.

"Sorry." The word whispered against sensitized skin. "So sorry, love. Let's talk about other things, hn?"

Fingertips ghosted up milky thighs, caressed the lightly ridged sac. A gasp followed by a low moan. The rhythmic slide of cotton and flesh.

" 'Ro... Slick enough. You -- uhn -- got me plenty wet already."

"I noticed."

The low, purring voice was sex, pure and simple. It lapped teasingly across a swollen, twitching erection, danced playfully through long strands of cinnamon silk... heated an already aroused body to explosive levels.

"Inside -- inside me! Want..."

"Ssshhh..."

Mouth touched mouth. Long, slim legs hooked impatiently over narrow hips and yanked. Quiet laughter spilled as deft fingers moved, circling dusky nipples, scraping down rigid pecs, curving tightly around a weeping cock.

Blunt pressure applied itself to clenching muscle... eased slowly inward.

"Ah, yeah..."

"So tight. Duo..."

Sliding. Pushing. Pulling. Shoving.

"Harder dammit!"

"...when I'm ready..."

Thrusting. Pausing. Grinding. Arching up-up-up-up...

Now.

Nownownownownow!

"Heeeeerro!"

"Duo."

I will...

yes

I will...

remember

I will forever...

'till it comes around

Remember you.

remember

You, always.

you

always

Remember.

[part 2] [back to Ravengirl's fic]